The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday (Feb 11) said COVID-19 will be the new official name for the deadly coronavirus that was first identified in China on Dec 31.
“We now have a name for the disease and it’s COVID-19,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva, explaining that “co” stood for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”.
The organisation said it had to find a name “that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people” and one that is also pronounceable and related to the disease, under agreed guidelines between the WHO and other intergovernmental organisations.
Dr Tedros spoke about the importance of having a formal name for the virus.
“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising,” he said. “It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”Advertisement
The virus, which started in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has since spread to more than 20 countries.
More than 1,000 people have died and more than 43,000 people have been infected, the vast majority in China.
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